This project was funded in part by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation
Engaging in culture and art through primary sources.
Glenbow Museum began with the remarkable vision of petroleum entrepreneur and lawyer Eric Lafferty Harvie. Mr. Harvie came into his fortune when oil was discovered in 1949 on land near Leduc and Redwater, for which he held the mineral rights. With this prosperity, he decided to pursue his favourite passion - collecting - and simultaneously return some of his good fortune back to the region that had been so generous to him. Mr. Harvie's goal was to collect the objects representing the history and culture of Western Canada as well as from around the world.
Eric Harvie began collecting material relating to the history of Western Canada in the 1950s, developing an extensive collection of art, artifacts, books and archival material Â from North America that tell the fascinating story of Aboriginal peoples, frontier exploration, and the development of western life. He built on these North American collections with extraordinary artifacts and art from Asia, West Africa, South America, and islands in the Pacific, eventually amassing a huge museum collection. Establishing the Glenbow Foundation in 1954, Mr. Harvie's collection became an eclectic blend of western history and international art and artifacts.
In 1966, Eric Harvie and his family donated his impressive collection of art, artifacts, and historical documents to the people of Alberta. Today, Glenbow Museum is one of the largest museums in Canada, playing an essential role in defining Western Canadian culture.